Factors Influencing Quality of Life in Individuals With Head and Neck Cancer It is absolutely amazing to me that patients with head and neck cancer are able to cope with their malignancies and surgeries as well as they do…the impact ripples through the family and immediately turns plans, expectations, and relationships upside down. Procedures often affect appearance, speaking, chewing, swallowing, breathing ... Article
Article  |   July 01, 2006
Factors Influencing Quality of Life in Individuals With Head and Neck Cancer
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Tanya L. Eadie
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington Seattle, WA
  • Candace Myers
    CancerCare Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Paul G. Beaudin
    Doctoral Program in Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Western Ontario London, Ontario, Canada
  • Philip C. Doyle
    Doctoral Program in Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Western Ontario London, Ontario, Canada
Article Information
Special Populations / Articles
Article   |   July 01, 2006
Factors Influencing Quality of Life in Individuals With Head and Neck Cancer
SIG 3 Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders, July 2006, Vol. 16, 19-24. doi:10.1044/vvd16.2.19
SIG 3 Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders, July 2006, Vol. 16, 19-24. doi:10.1044/vvd16.2.19
It is absolutely amazing to me that patients with head and neck cancer are able to cope with their malignancies and surgeries as well as they do…the impact ripples through the family and immediately turns plans, expectations, and relationships upside down. Procedures often affect appearance, speaking, chewing, swallowing, breathing and other bodily functions… financial, social, job, and family worries are routine. (Byron J. Bailey, 1992, as cited in Morton, 2003, p. 1091).
Every year more than 40,000 new diagnoses of head and neck cancer (HNCa; oral cavity, tongue, pharynx, and larynx) occur in the United States, with more than 11,000 associated deaths (American Cancer Society, 2005). The difficulties these individuals face are a topic of growing concern. Quality of life (QOL) is a multidimensional construct that minimally includes physical, psychological, and social domains of functioning and applies to the level of one’s general well-being and life satisfaction (Rogers, Fisher, & Woolgar, 1999). QOL has a particular relevance for those diagnosed and treated for HNCa because of the myriad difficulties these individuals experience with everyday functioning. Of particular interest to speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are the significant difficulties individuals with HNCa experience in speech and swallowing. However, multiple factors beyond speech and swallowing affect QOL in individuals with HNCa; this includes time since diagnosis, cancer site and stage, pain, methods of coping, social support, and cultural issues, to name but a few (Myers, 2005). Consideration of multiple components of a person’s well-being and functioning are, therefore, necessary to facilitate the most effective treatment, rehabilitation, and end-of-life care in this clinical population (Hammerlid, Persson, Sullivan, & Westin, 1999).
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